A few nights ago I was very upset and stewing into the early morning hours over a fight I had with a loved one. I was quite sure that I was entirely right and they were entirely wrong. I asked on Facebook if anyone else was up - it was 4 o'clock in the morning - and an online writer friend I've never met in real life was awake and answered. She lives in Guernsey where it was a perfectly normal time to be awake.
I typed out my anger and heartbreak, and she said:
Listen to me very carefully, because I have to go pick someone up at the airport in five minutes.
OK, I typed, my heart full of hope for the One Great Answer that would change my life. She was a single Mama, too. I was sure that her struggles led to Deep Insight, I was confident that her next words would change my life.
Go to sleep. It's the middle of the night. You aren't going to resolve anything at four o'clock in the morning.
That was it. No judgement, no commiserating, no comment on my Great Personal Struggle.
Go. The F*ck. To Sleep. (I added the obscenity, she's far too polite for that.)
She was right. Sleep didn't magically fix anything, but it certainly was better than mentally picking at sores all night and resolving nothing.
It's 4:00 AM. There are no magic words. Go to sleep and try and become rational.
Had another friend answered, we might have stayed up for the rest of the night rehashing all my feelings and arguments and doing nothing but making me more sleep deprived. Instead, she Mama'ed me and put me to bed.
Go to sleep. It will be better in the morning, or at least the same in the morning, but you'll be less tired at least. It is truly the best advice we can give anyone in the middle of the night.
Thanks, Limpet Girl.